When I look back at and reflect upon my professional objectives for the year 2012, one of the greatest “accomplishments” for which I give thanks is the relationships I’ve built this year. A few stand out in my mind — including my growing friendship with my mentor and editor Elizabeth Scalia here on Patheos (which is fodder for a post itself). Also notable are the partnerships I’ve worked to build this year with a few specific entities: the USCCB, Catholic Relief Services and Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA).
My conversation with CFCA started early in 2012 with a phone call and an agreement. In reality, CFCA had been on my radar for several years. Good friends our ours served as Physician volunteers for two years with the organization and actually adopted a beautiful daughter during their service time. For years, our parish has welcomed CFCA missionaries who come to spread the good news and invite our families — who are truly blessed in so many ways — to share our gifts with others. So at the beginning of 2012, my site CatholicMom.com agreed to enter into partnership with CFCA with the goal of finding sponsorship for one “friend of the month” each month amidst our readership. Every month, these precious souls have become a part of my heart. I told my husband yesterday that each month, I have to resist my personal temptation to sponsor them myself so that our readers can become a part of this growing partnership. Until I hear that they’ve found a sponsor (and truthfully beyond that moment too), they tug at my heart and are in my daily prayers.
Today, I posted an article about our latest little friend, precious three-year-old Joseph from Mexico. I hope that within the next few days, he will become our tenth CFCA friend to find a sponsor. Ten friends is really a drop in the bucket of what CFCA accomplishes every day, and yet this partnership has been such a blessing to me this year.The truth of the matter is that while Joseph will be blessed by sponsorship support, perhaps the greater blessing will be received by the family who makes the conscious decision to enter into a relationship with this little one. This weekend, our parish welcomed CFCA missionary priest Father Cyrus Gallagher who came to invite our families to consider CFCA sponsorship. As I sat listening to Father Gallagher, I thought about the perfect timing of his visit. During his homily, Father linked the message of yesterday’s gospel from Luke 3 with the very real need that exists in our world to support those who go without even the most basic needs of food and shelter:
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
But along with the timeliness of the gospel was the tragedy that hit in Connecticut on Friday. I will leave the dissection of what caused that to greater minds than my own. But in the aftermath, I find myself praying about small ways in which families can prevent future violence. It seems to me that a family coming together to consciously sacrifice, to pray for, to financially support, and to build a relationship with a child or elder in need undoubtedly draws us all just a little closer together.
In sponsoring a CFCA friend, you don’t simply throw a dollar per day at a problem… you enter into a real dialogue with a real person. The family who adopts little Joseph this month will provide for some of his financial needs, but they will also pray with him, hear regular updates from him via personal letters and photos, and hopefully build a relationship that will bless their own family as much as it blesses Joseph.
During this time of great mourning, it seems to me that acts of love are our only hope for healing. I thank my friends at CFCA for providing a way for us to build bridges that cross great divides and enable us to meet Christ in real life, in the faces of “friends”.